Distinct Flavors

Friday, July 08, 2011

By James Wood

Runco DHDIf you’ve ever gone to Taco Bell, you might notice something about the food. It’s essentially the same ingredients packaged in slightly different ways: meat, cheese and tortilla. Tacos, burritos, gorditas or tostadas are all basically the same food in slightly different packaging. It all tastes the same and it all tastes like Taco Bell.

Not long ago I wanted to share one of the classics of cinema with some friends. Sam Rami’s Army of Darkness in which Bruce Campbell travels back in time to fight the hordes of Evil Dead with his “boom stick.” We sat down in front of their brand-new high definition, flat screen TV and began to watch the movie. It didn’t take more than a few minutes for me to notice that something was wrong. Things looked, well, weird. My best description was that things looked soap-opera-ey. Everything looked flat and over-lit.

I didn’t want to be a bad guest so I finished watching the movie, but the whole time I was noticing the odd way that this movie appeared on my friends TV. Later on I did some research to figure out what was going on. Their TV had a low quality video processor in it that tried to up-convert the standard definition DVD to high definition. The result was that everything looked the same.

The problem is that movies are made to be blurry at times. When you’re watching the final game of the NCAA tournament you want every detail to be crisp, so a high refresh rate is just the thing. But movies are made by directors who want to show you their vision of the world. Sam Rami used blurring during camera pans to hide some of the special effects flaws. Making the background fuzzy in relation to the foreground is a way that directors draw our attention to the important elements in the story. But with the overly high refresh rate on their run-of-the-mill television flattened it out and all the details looked the same.

A cheap video processor is the same as a cheap fast food meal. Just like everything on the menu at Taco Bell tastes the same, all the images on my friends TV looked pretty much identical. But Runco DHD video controllers are more like a chef at a fine restaurant than the kid at Taco Bell. Each flavor in an exquisite meal is distinct and pairs well with the other flavors to create a total experience that is far beyond any one of the components.

If the incoming signal is a grainy like old black-and-white film, the DHD won’t wash out all of the character the director poured into the celluloid, but rather massage it and present it beautifully. Standard definition DVDs, HD Sports, old movies and cutting edge Blu-ray blockbusters are all seamlessly brought to life on a Runco flat panel or projector without losing the flavor of the original.

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